Chelsea and Everton are keeping a close eye on Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani, after the Uruguay international clashed with his teammate Neymar over the weekend.
During PSG’s 2-0 win over Lyon on Sunday (17 September), the duo were at centre of two controversial episodes. Initially, Dani Alves stripped Cavani of the ball as the latter was preparing to take a free-kick and handed it to Neymar instead. Shortly afterward, Cavani tried to prevent Neymar take a penalty, refusing to budge despite the former Barcelona’s man protestations, only to miss from 12 yards himself.
The French club has quashed rumours of a rift between Cavani and Neymar, but the Parisians remain under pressure to sell in the January transfer window to comply with financial fairplay regulations and the former is among those who could be on the departures list.
According to the Daily Mail, both Chelsea and Everton are monitoring developments and could be among the suitors, should the 30-year-old become available. Antonio Conte has made no secret of his desire to bolster his attacking options as the saga surrounding Diego Costa finally appears to be reaching a conclusion.
The Blues made Alvaro Morata their record signing this summer, but while the Spaniard has hit the ground running, some feel Chelsea still lack a plan B to unlock particularly stubborn defences.
Everton, meanwhile, have failed to replaced Romelu Lukaku after the striker moved to Manchester United in a deal worth up to £90m. Ronald Koeman has splashed approximately £140m on players but the Toffees have looked extremely ponderous so far this season and lack a cutting edge up-front.
Any move for Cavani, however, is unlikely to be straightforward for a variety of reasons. The 30-year-old reportedly earns £120,000 after tax and while the wages might not be a problem for Chelsea, they could prove to be more of a stumbling block for Everton, particularly as he will turn 31 in February next year.
Furthermore, Chelsea are unlikely to guarantee him a starting spot week in, week out, while it remains difficult to see Everton breaking into the Champions League this season, a competition in which Cavani would want to play.
The Uruguayan has never been shy about his desire of returning to Napoli, where he scored 105 goals in 138 games in all competitions between 2010 and 2013 but the Partenopei’s attack has been firing on all cylinders this season and coach Maurizio Sarri could be reluctant to alter a front line that has scored more than any other club in Europe so far this term.
Cavani would also have to take a huge pay cut to return to Naples for a second spell and his wages could be a sticking point for Juventus and Inter Milan, which are also said to be keeping an eye on the striker.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, appear a more likely destination as they need a replacement for Morata, could have afford Cavani’s salary and offer him Champions League football.
Meanwhile, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said there was no tension between Cavani and Neymar. “There is nothing [to worry about],” he said after speaking to both players. “You the media are the ones who make the problems.”